The European Union geared up to start mass vaccinations against COVID-19 just after Christmas after the shot developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech cleared regulatory hurdles on Monday, Reuters reported.
European Union countries including Germany, France, Austria and Italy have said they plan to start vaccinations from Dec. 27 as Europe tries to catch up with the United States and Britain, where inoculations began earlier this month.
Having secured a green light from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the European Commission gave final approval on Monday evening to the EU’s first COVID-19 vaccine.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said doses would be available for all EU countries, at the same time and on the same conditions.
Pfizer and BioNTech said here they are ready to immediately ship initial doses of the vaccine, branded in the EU as Comirnaty, to the 27 EU member states.
Vaccine doses for Europe will be produced in BioNTech’s manufacturing sites in Germany, and Pfizer’s manufacturing site in Puurs, Belgium, the companies said.
|(Photo: TODAY Online)|
Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza hailed the approval as “the news we have been waiting for”.
“(It) opened up a new phase and gives us more strength and confidence” EMA officials said it was highly likely the vaccine would work against the new variant of the coronavirus.
EMA executive director Emer Cooke said it would take a long time to inoculate the 450 million people of the 27 EU countries.
“Vaccines alone will not be the silver bullet that will allow us to return to normal lives, but the authorisation of this first vaccine is definitely a major step in the right direction and an indication that 2021 can be brighter than 2020,” she told a news briefing.
Philippines police officer charged over mother and son murder
A police officer in the Philippines has been arrested and charged with the double murder of a mother and her son following a dispute.
Jonel Nuezca turned himself in on Sunday after he was accused of shooting his neighbour Sonya Gregario, 52, and her 25-year-old son Frank.
A video, shared on social media, shows him firing another bullet at Ms Gregario as she lies on the ground.
The killings have prompted an outcry and renewed calls for police reform.
According to BBC, Mr Nuezca, who was accompanied by his young daughter at the time, has not publicly commented on the incident. But local police chief Noriel Rombaoa told local broadcaster DZMM that he admitted to the killings.
The shooting took place in the city of Tarlac as Mr Nuezca, who was off duty, tried to arrest Mr Gregario.
Debold Sinas, chief of the Philippine National Police, told local media that Mr Nuezca had already faced five administrative charges, including two for murder, though both were dismissed due to a lack of evidence. Mr Nuezca was still allowed to carry a gun while off-duty.
Since the video emerged online, various hashtags have been trending on social media calling for justice.
Eduardo Año, the Philippines' interior minister, condemned the killings and stressed that the incident was isolated.
Gold price prediction – prices whipsaw as risk off is mixed
Gold prices consolidate whipsawing and settling nearly unchanged as concerns about a new strain of the coronavirus spread through the Uk. The Greenback initially rose and then declined after hitting a 33-month low on last week. US yields moved higher despite a decrease in riskier assets. It appears that the U.S. Congress has agreed to a final stimulus package and a vote is likely to come on Monday or Tuesday with the President getting the bill by mid-week.
|(Photo: Market Watch)|
Gold prices whipsawed, moving higher and then lower before settling nearly unchanged. Support is near the 50-day moving average near 1,870, and the then 10-day moving average at 1,857. Target resistance is now seen near the November highs at 1,960. Short-term momentum has turned negative as the fast stochastic generated a crossover sell signal. Prices are overbought. The current reading on the fast stochastic is 83, above the overbought trigger level of 80, which could foreshadow a correction. Medium-term momentum is positive as the MACD (moving average convergence divergence) histogram prints in the black with an upward sloping trajectory which points to higher prices, according to FX Empire.
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